Seafoods 3: Two Ways of Preparing Shark Fin (魚翅二法)

海鮮單::魚翅二法
魚翅難爛,須煮兩日,才能摧剛為柔。用有二法︰一用好火腿、好雞湯,加鮮筍、冰糖錢許煨爛,此一法也;一純用雞湯串細蘿蔔絲,拆碎鱗翅攙和其中,飄浮碗面,令食者不能辨其為蘿蔔絲、為魚翅,此又一法也。用火腿者,湯宜少;用蘿蔔絲者,湯宜多。總以融洽柔膩為佳。若海參觸鼻,魚翅跳盤,便成笑話。吳道士家做魚翅,不用下鱗,單用上半原根,亦有風味。蘿蔔絲須出水二次,其臭才去。嘗在郭耕禮家吃魚翅炒菜,妙絕!惜未傳其方法。

List of Seafoods::Two Ways of Preparing Shark Fin
Shark fin does not soften easily and needs to be boiled for around two days before it is supple enough to eat. There are two ways of preparing shark fin; the first involves simmering it with good ham, good chicken broth, fresh bamboo shoots, and a few grams of rock sugar. The second way uses only chicken broth and finely shredded radish with the shark fin pulled apart into shreds. When cooked, both radish and shark fin meld together in the bowl such that a diner cannot tell one apart from the other. The method using the ham has less liquid, while the method using radish has more.

Mmmmmm…such a tasty offering. But alas, no. (Credit: chee.hong)

A well prepared shark fin must be a harmoniously balanced in it smoothness and suppleness.[1] If one serves sea cucumbers that flicks one’s nose and shark fin that bounces off the plate, it would be told as joke amoung one’s guests. When Taoist Wu serves shark fin at home they do not use the bottom scale containing portions and prefers to use only the thicker top portions, a rather unique method of preparation. The shredded radish used for shark fin must be immersed and soaked in water twice in order to remove its odour. I have also tasted the shark fin and vegetables stir-fry at the home of Guo Gengli, which was superb! It is too bad they did not pass on the technique for preparing this dish.

Random notes:
[1]: The texture of shark fin is smooth against the tongue, firm against the teeth, and when bitten into, gives a delectable gelatinous snap that nothing can substitute. Those not initiated into the more refined aspects of Chinese cuisine cannot begin to appreciate the exquisite textures and mouth-feels that the cuisine offers, not least what a bowl of shark fin brings to the table, literally. In my opinion, of all the delicacies in this section, none can rival the texture and flavours of well prepared shark fin. Still, I find the ecological consequences and current harvesting methods of it unacceptable. Thus until we find a way of farming sharks, I will not buy or eat the stuff. As such I resign myself to eating fish maw, which while pretty good still cannot beat shark fin

Advertisements

One thought on “Seafoods 3: Two Ways of Preparing Shark Fin (魚翅二法)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s